Sunday, 6 May 2012

LOVE Hester Scheurwater

'My Daily Uploads'
September 15th, 2010
Image sourced at

why YOU should love Hester Scheurwater... 

Having been repeatedly banned from Facebook and Youtube, Scheurwater provokes notions of censorship by challenging the relationship between privacy and public realms and how these aspects are governed online. Facebook is her domain for broadcasting and this reflects wholly on her work. Navigating Facebook becomes an exploration into the power struggles in the digital domain and what is deemed appropriate in a seemingly lawless territory, as well as critiquing how users abide by social media codes. 
The use of explicit pornographic and fetishistic overtones shares a relationship with discourse revolving the hyper-sexualisation of society. Scheurwater embodies the change in social attitude towards pornography and female representation, her indulgent exhibitionist self-portraiture display fetish coding such as: bondage,[1] voyeurism,[2]seduction, temptation, leather and PVC clothing, sheer and ripped tights or stockings, high heels, in order to reveal the voyeuristic nature of the act of looking.  Scholar Louise J. Kaplan suggests that, “…the roles women are required to play in our society are in themselves a form of perversion.”[3] Scheurwater is just one example of a culture of,Indoctrinated, obsessed and fascinated by this view of the “sensual seductive” woman as a sex object.”[4] By obsessively taking image after image of her body, Scheurwater complies to the impact of the media portraying images of the ideal woman coinciding with the constant need to observe her body and to become hyper-sexualised. This bombardment of perfection has led the artist to scrutinise her own image every day.
Using the conventions of traditional self-portraiture (by reflecting on the inner and outer self.)The use of the mirror is a significant aspect of her work; the symbolic associations of vanity, beauty, observation, visibility and reflection, performance, mimesis, serve to reinforce the act of looking and viewer as voyeur. The idea of voyeurism is conflated in these works by the acknowledgement of the artist as a spectator of her own body, “...the artist looks at herself from both sides of the mirror." Scheurwater herself becomes a viewer of her own sexualised, commoditised image and therefore is knowingly in control of this representation. The gaze within the photograph begins with the artist, empowerment here, takes the form of being in control of the construction and creation of her image.
As Scheurwater points out, "There is no erotic fake layer between me and my photos, I do not mirror sex for better and more romantic than it is."[5]  The haptic sensations evoked with the reading of her work lends the viewer to sympathise and realise the poignant impact of pornography on female representation and identity. 

[1] Partially obscuring her body with tights and the use of tight, restrictive clothing emulates that of bondage ties.
[2] Despite Scheurwater’s staged photography, one gets a sense of observing a private moment in the artist’s bedroom, emphasised with the use of perspective and camera angles
[3] Female Perversions, Louise J Kaplan, p 45
[4]Hester Scheurwater, Artist Statement, 

[5]Hester Scheurwater, Jan 20th 2011, Interview Hester Dutch newspaper Volkskrant Magazine Scheurwater, Wim de Jong, translated from Dutch

No comments:

Post a Comment